After a surprisingly comfortable encounter with Liberian customs, Onyx made his way to what he figured was the arrival terminal. He couldn’t really remember anything about the airport from the time he was 14. He passed through the exit and walked straight to the nearest ‘money-changer.’ His Facebook friends had given him a heads-up about the exchange rate between the U.S. and Liberian dollars. He was fully prepared for the young man’s deception. The money changer told him the rate was LD$60 for every US$1.What he didn’t expect was for someone to come to his aid; especially not the character that showed up. A man as tall as himself, but nowhere near as big, walked to the money changer and said in a voice as blunt and heavy as a sledgehammer “My man! Stop dat ting! You tink you helping Liberia like dat? You can’t see dis man na real white man?” The money changer blinked rapidly in apparent disbelief. Onyx couldn’t tell whether it was from being caught trying to con him, or because he was taking in the man’s bizarre appearance.The tall, lithe, chocolate-complexioned man wore a leopard print Persian turban on his head with green horn-rimmed shades. As if that was not strange enough, he added a bright orange velvet dinner jacket with matching shorts to the mix. His choice in footwear helped complete the eccentric package, as silver penny-loafers adorned his feet.“Why you people can’t do deh right ting? Eh?” he asked the absolutely dumbstruck money changer. The money changer looked away from Onyx, apparently defeated by the words of the stranger, and said, “Sorry popay, deh rate da 86 LD for U.S.”The odd man turned to Onyx and removed his shades, revealing eyes that would weaken the bladders of most tourists. They had a feral quality that screamed “basket-case.” Against all of his better judgment, Onyx felt he could trust this man. He held out his hand to the man and said, “I’m Onyx; Onyx Togbah.”The man grabbed Onyx’s hand, smiled and shook it vigorously, responding, “My name Kerkula; Kerkula Mulbah, and I’m a taxi driver and fellow Kpelleh man.” Onyx now understood the reason for this stranger’s—Kerkula’s—intervention. He did not mind though. After the way he him saw handle the money changer, Kerkula Mulbah’s obvious street smarts might be just what he needed.“Kerkula,” Onyx said, “If we can come to a compromise on the matter of payment, you may have just gotten yourself hired as my personal guide.”Kerkula took Onyx’s bag and they walked side by side across the airport’s parking lot until they stood next to a canary yellow Toyota. Opening the door, he looked at Onyx and said, “From Montseraddo to Nimba, you will na find nobody who know LIB like me!”“Good,” Onyx said, “I am going to Gbartala in 3 days to find my father. I need someone who knows the terrain.” Kerkula sat down and pressed the button releasing his taxi’s automatic locks, looked at Onyx from the driver’s seat, adjusted his turban and said, “T-rain; Q-rain; and Z-rain. My brother I know all the rains dem! Sit down and get ready to find you pa!”Day 1The next morning, at a clean and cheap hotel Kerkula carried him to in the Monrovia neighborhood of Sinkor, Onyx was ready to “hit the ground running.” He felt like everything was falling into place thanks to his new ally.Kerkula Mulbah was quite possibly the most interesting person Onyx had ever met. For one thing, the man’s fashion taste only got more eccentric. He picked Onyx up from the hotel with a maroon fez on his head while wearing the Bayern Munich football club’s full kit. Just as before, his strange choice of shoes completed the image. This time it was a pair of fire-truck red hiking boots.Kerkula walked up to him, practically shouting at the top of his voice, “Oh-nees! My man, we need to get you some basic material.” Onyx knew Kerkula was right, it was important to be prepared for any eventuality. He needed to find a supermarket to buy water, toiletries, and a few healthy snacks.They got into his taxi and started the first day’s tour of Monrovia. Kerkula’s taxi was so clean you could eat off of the dashboard. Onyx became slightly ashamed when he thought of his dusty document-filled old Alfa-Romeo back in Ohio.“So?” Kerkula asked while driving, “What kinda work you do in America?” Onyx felt his face flush with embarrassment. His last stable job had been over a year ago, helping restore old paintings at an art gallery. Now he worked out of his car as a house painter. He knew he could lie to Kerkula, but he didn’t want to. He was aware of how some second generation Africans lied about their level of success to relatives back home; he did not want to be like them. “I’m a painter,” he said, adding “I paint everything from houses to pictures.”Kerkula looked at Onyx and turned the tassel on his fez to the right. He said, “My man, da good honest work. Anyting da can feed your family,” he said.“I will you carry to my house and let my woman prepare some dumboy for you later,” said Kerkula with such authority that it felt more like an order than an invitation. Not that Onyx minded. He realized that he had just made a friend.————–Eight hours later they were on their way to Kerkula’s house in Jacob Town. They had spent the day driving all over Monrovia so Onyx could become reacquainted with the capital city. Onyx was stunned how things had barely changed since he was a kid. Of course there were cosmetic changes here and there—new stores and few new buildings—but almost everything was just as he remembered it. Unlike his muddled memories of the airport, looking at the city was like being in a time warp.In Onyx’s opinion, this was not a bad thing. Liberia was still a country of breathtaking beauty. That beauty juxtaposed with the obvious scars of the decade-plus civil war just reinforced the image he had of the country’s mystical quality.He had gone with Kerkula from Broad Street to the city’s many beaches. While they were doing this, he learned that Kerkula was an ex-combatant. He did not say it to impress or boast. He explained it as matter-of-factly as Onyx had when he talked about his job. Onyx reciprocated by telling Kerkula more about his father, his two failed marriages and the best thing he had done with his life; his 12 year old daughter Yamma.They wrapped up their long conversation as they pulled up the driveway of Kerkula’s house. His home was a cozy little white building surrounded by bushes, with a coconut tree in the yard. The second Kerkula parked his car and turned off its engine, he was crushed by the embraces of four startlingly attractive kids. The group consisted of one surly looking (was there any other kind?) teenage girl, 2-year-old twin boys, and their older adolescent brother who was the spitting image of Kerkula.Kerkula introduced his children in order of age, starting from the oldest. His daughter, Precious was tall for 14, but still shorter than her brother Enoch; who towered over her at the age of 12. The adorable identical twins were named—hilariously— Napoleon and Alexander.Onyx followed Kerkula and his kids into their home. When he got inside he went into the airy living room and sat down on it’s wonderfully cushioned bamboo furniture. A minute later, a short voluptuous dark-skinned woman in a flowing white gown entered the room with her hand extended in greeting, saying “How you do papa? My name Victoria, but my friends can call me Vic. Welcome to your home yeh?” Onyx shook Vic’s hand and praised the cleanliness of her home. This sudden immersion in Kerkula’s domestic life made Onyx long for his daughter. He would have to call Yamma tomorrow. Family was the reason he was here.He needed his father. Yamma needed to meet her grandfather for the first time. He was shaken out of his reverie by Napoleon and Alexander who had decided he was a mountain that needed climbing. “Come let’s eat!” they said in unison. Looking down at their cherubic little faces, he replied, “Lead the way.”He sat down to the wonderfully spread table and looked at the smiling faces of the Mulbah family. He wanted what they had. He would find his father. He would make everything right. He made this promise to himself and before God as Kerkula told everyone to bow and say grace.…To be continued.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
However, the formidable sight of Simeone’s side stands in their way.Since the Argentine took charge in 2011, Atletico have reached five European semi-finals in seven seasons, winning the Europa League in 2012 and reaching the Champions League final in 2014 and 2016.Costa was a constant thorn in Arsenal’s side during three years at Chelsea, scoring three times and losing just once in six meetings with the Gunners.But he has been sidelined since picking up a hamstring strain in Atletico’s quarter-final, second leg at Sporting Lisbon.“We will try to evaluate all the factors. We will speak among the doctors, himself and I to decide what the team needs most,” said Simeone on whether Costa will start or kept in reserve from the bench.“Yesterday he trained well and we will do what we deem to be right.“In Spain and England there are many teams that have suffered because of his characteristics not just Arsenal.”In contrast to Arsenal, Atletico are already assured their place in next season’s Champions League as they sit second, ahead of Real Madrid, in La Liga.However, despite punching above their weight against the might of Barcelona and Real Madrid under Simeone, Atletico haven’t won a trophy since 2014.Winning the Europa League in Simeone’s first season in charge in 2012 set the platform to win La Liga two years later, and he hopes recreating that winning feeling will spark another era of success.“Being a champion is different and the best teams in the world get stronger because of it,” he added.“It gave us the conviction and certainty that we were on the right road. Then the other titles came: Copa del Rey, La Liga, Spanish and European Super Cups, the two lost (Champions League) finals.“Now it has been a while since we won a trophy, but we keep trying.”Wenger also enjoyed great success in his first decade in charge of Arsenal, winning three Premier League titles.However, despite growing frustration from Arsenal fans over their inability to compete for the Premier League or Champions League in recent seasons, Simeone was glowing in his praise for Wenger’s durability.“I have admiration for a great professional. To be able stay so long at such a big club he had to reinvent himself.“I still think of myself as a young coach. I try to observe, learn and admire (his work). Coaches are always open (to criticism) and the place he has held in world football is marvellous.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Atletico Madrid’s Diego Costa – fit to face Arsenal on Thursday © AFP / Ben STANSALLLON DON, United Kingdom, Apr 25 – Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone confirmed Diego Costa will be fit to resume his rivalry with Arsenal in a Europa League semi-final, first leg on Thursday of huge significance for the English side.Arsenal are hoping to bid farewell to outgoing manager Arsene Wenger after 22 years in charge by winning the Frenchman’s first European trophy, and securing qualification for next season’s Champions League in the process.
“I didn’t even regard this as a derby match – but I’ve quickly learnt that it is!” The words of Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp after the final whistle had blown at Loftus Road on Sunday.He wasn’t the only one. Half the Chelsea side looked shell-shocked as they stepped into the Shepherd’s Bush bear pit – a world away from the plush confines of Stamford Bridge.The players were berated the minute they stepped off the coach as 15 years’ worth of emotions were unleashed by Rangers fans, the more sinister of whom were quite literally frothing at the mouth.“This was the biggest humiliation witnessed in Chelsea colours since David Mellor was mocked up on the front page of The Sun under the headline ‘Toe job to no job’.”Holed up inside my little enclave in the Lower Loft, I couldn’t help but feel a little sorry for Juan Mata, Chelsea’s designated corner-taker, as time after time he slunk into the lions’ den, desperately wishing his huge salary could buy him an invisibility cloak.In the event, the little Spaniard was taken off after failing to be convinced that ignoring the baying mob was simply a case of mind over Mata.And his wasn’t the only unscheduled departure, with Jose Bosingwa and Didier Drogba both playing with their rubber ducks in the bath before the half-time whistle had sounded.Throw in nine yellow cards, a penalty, QPR’s first win over their old enemy for 16 years and an allegation of racism and it’s fair to say this was no Sunday school outing.Blues boss Andre Villas-Boas was incensed by the refereeing decisions that went against his team, while conversely fans on Rangers messageboards were calling for an addition to the New Year’s honours list – Sir Chris Foy.Taking off the blue and white-tinted specs for a moment, I think Hoy got most of the big decisions right.Yes the penalty was a little soft, but a penalty nevertheless (in fact the biggest argument was over who was going to take it) – although admittedly Frank Lampard had a case for a spot-kick of his own.As for the red cards, Bosingwa was the last man, while even a fired-up AVB – who appeared to have swapped heads with the strangely docile Neil Warnock – could have no arguments with Drogba’s horror tackle on Adel Taarabt.The fact Chelsea performed far better with nine men than 11, playing Rangers off the park in the second half, only added to the intensity and when the final whistle finally sounded after the longest five minutes of injury time ever (if you were a Rangers fan) the relief was palpable.The visiting support rightly applauded the heroic efforts of their team, but it was clear this was the biggest humiliation witnessed in Chelsea colours since David Mellor was mocked up on the front page of The Sun under the headline ‘Toe Job To No Job’It was certainly not how the Blues hierarchy thought it would pan out, at least not according to the match preview on their official site.It read: “The noises from the R’s camp are redolent of the clichés produced by the underdog before a cup final.“It will be our first league meeting with Queens Park Rangers for 15 years and it is fair to say the hosts are quite worked up about it. Least so Blues supporters.”You suspect that may not be the case ahead of the return leg at Stamford Bridge in April, when the mocking chants of “Who are ya?” might be replaced by “How dare you?”The day after the game, we interviewed Shaun Derry for QPR podcast Open All R’s.Owner of the world’s cleverest dogsThe midfield enforcer came out on top in a ding-dong battle with Lampard on Sunday and decided not to push his luck by swapping shirts at the end, with one of my colleagues mischievously suggesting it would have been several sizes too big for him.Derry added that he celebrated by taking his dogs to a pub quiz, with the hounds getting more correct answers than he did. Sample question: ‘How will most QPR fans feel tomorrow morning?’ Answer: ‘Wuff.’The hors d’oeuvre to the big derby of the day was a fairly minor affair at Old Trafford between the two Manchester clubs.City, as some of you may know by now, won 6-1 with Mario Balotelli helping himself to a double, two days after setting his bathroom ablaze with a firework.Never mind the football, characters like Balotelli are what makes the Premier League so compelling.Messi and co are wonderful to watch, but can you really imagine the little magician driving around the city centre in his soft top, high-fiving supporters immediately after a derby win?And it got better as the week went on, with news that old mother Balotelli was in town and had ordered her son to go out and buy an ironing board and iron.Five hours later he came back empty-handed but was followed shortly afterwards by a John Lewis lorry delivering a giant trampoline, Scalextric set, two vespa scooters and a table-tennis table.All Balotelli needed was a cuddly toy for a classic Generation Game conveyor belt – although he wouldn’t be much good at the 1970s gameshow after forgetting the two things he was originally sent out for: the iron and the ironing board.If he carries on at this rate, the Italian is quickly going to become Britain’s favourite footballer. And if he gets himself a Twitter account, Joey Barton could find himself relegated to the also-rans.”Bring me sunshine…”In other west London news, 10 out of 10 for Brentford manager Uwe Rosler after the German was given his marching orders for persistently stepping in front of Notts County’s Alan Sheehan as he went to take a free-kick – a skit Morecambe and Wise would have been proud of.And things have still not improved for Fulham on the pitch, but off it owner Mohamed Al Fayed had plenty to say.Incensed by former manager Mark Hughes’ comments that the club lacked ambition, Al Fayed blasted: “He was a forgotten man when I rescued him to become manager of Fulham.“He is not just disrespectful but entirely wrong. If people are looking for a flop, they have to look no further than the man who has lost his spark.”Ouch. Although I have it on good authority that the real reason Hughes decided he no longer wanted to be associated with Fulham was the day he caught sight of the blueprint for the Michael Jackson statue.That’s all folks. Have a good weekend and think of me and the other walkers as we set off on our trek from Loftus Road to White Hart Lane on Sunday, raising money for the QPR Tiger cubs – the team for kids with Down’s syndrome. You can give generously (or not) by clcking here.
Related Posts Tags:#start#startups Whether you’re riffing on the latest celebrity gossip or ranting about local politics, Blogged lets you add your two cents to today’s hottest news posts. As of this morning, the conversation tracking service is offering another level of news-related discussion through its live chat feature. In addition to aggregating topical blog posts and real-time blog comments, Blogged lets you find your online friends and create article-specific or topic-specific chat boxes. If you’re like me and you have a knack for putting your foot in your mouth, this chat feature helps ensure that your buffoonery is kept amongst your inner circle. Last month ReadWriteWeb covered Blogged’s transition from a blogging directory to a social news service. The company shifted its focus to facilitate discussion on news-related blog posts. While Blogged’s site, Facebook application and widget allow for public conversations and trackbacks, today’s live chat release is more discrete. Rather than immortalizing and publicly broadcasting sensitive conversations, this feature keeps political commentary and snide comments in the shadows. In addition to the chat feature, the company also offers users the opportunity to retweet their posts and embed Blogged services into their own sites. By embedding the Blogged code, users eliminate the need to repost information. The service syncs and refreshes all of your posts and comments from the Facebook application, widgets and Blogged site in real-time. The new Blogged service is best described as one part news feed, one part Echo conversation aggregator and one part Google Wave. To check out the service visit blogged.com or try the Blogged Facebook application. Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting dana oshiro 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market
The House of Representatives on Tuesday voted 119-32 to approve the P1,000 budget.This was not the first time that the Blue Babble Battalion used the halftime show to get their message across. Last year, members of the team wore shirts that spelled “NOT A HERO.” LOOK: Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte unwind in Amanpulo for 3rd anniversary E.T. returns to earth, reunites with grown-up Elliott in new ad For the complete collegiate sports coverage including scores, schedules and stories, visit Inquirer Varsity. After tearing a huge placard that said “P1,000″ into two, members of the BBB held up signs that read “stop the EJKs [extra judicial killings], uphold human rights” during their performance. LATEST STORIES ‘Bato’ to be ‘most effective’ CHR head? It’s for public to decide – Gascon PLAY LIST 01:38‘Bato’ to be ‘most effective’ CHR head? It’s for public to decide – Gascon00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Right mindset key to Dennison’s easy transition to FEU’s go-to-guy Read Next Frontrow holds fun run to raise funds for young cancer patients Nonong Araneta re-elected as PFF president BSP sees higher prices in November, but expects stronger peso, low rice costs to put up fight Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC MOST READ WATCH: Streetboys show off slick dance moves in Vhong Navarro’s wedding View comments Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Stop the EJKs and uphold human rights. #UAAPSeason80#MensBasketball pic.twitter.com/gVNJG6Geae— Ateneo Blue Babble (@AteneoBabble) September 13, 2017The Ateneo Blue Babble Battalion on Wednesday took a stand against the extrajudicial killings and the House of Representatives’ decision to allocate just P1,000 of the 2018 budget for the Commission on Human Rights.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutThe group made the statement during the its routine performance at the halftime break of the game between Ateneo and University of the Philippines at Smart Araneta Coliseum in the UAAP Season 80 men’s basketball tournament.ADVERTISEMENT
A Lesson LearntThe findings of the survey are not surprising (“What’s Wrong With Our Teaching?”, November 27). We are still following the teaching norms set by the British. They had designed our education system to produce clerks who would simply follow their orders. We have hardly done anything to change,A Lesson LearntThe findings of the survey are not surprising (“What’s Wrong With Our Teaching?”, November 27). We are still following the teaching norms set by the British. They had designed our education system to produce clerks who would simply follow their orders. We have hardly done anything to change this.SUNIL MUNDRA, on e-mail”The cover story was an awakener, not a revelation. To rectify the flaws in our education system, we need to promote learning by understanding.”ANJUM M. SAMEL, on e-mailOur Government should take serious steps to revamp the education system and focus on imparting real knowledge, which is not determined by marks alone. It is disheartening to see students performing well in examinations, yet lacking analytical skills.MAHUA VENKATESH, DelhiThe problem doesn’t lie with the syllabus alone. There is a dearth of trained tutors in our country as teaching today is a profession adopted by people who fail to make a mark in other fields. There should be enough remuneration and perks to attract educators in our country.HIRAK SENGUPTA, DelhiA clear distinction has to be made between learning and knowledge. Students should not be encouraged to memorise lessons to score in examinations. In stead, they should be motivated to exchange ideas on various educative topics with their fellow classmates to gain knowledge.S. LAKSHMI, on e-mailINDIA TODAY’s delineation on the education system unmasked some of the drawbacks that prevail in our schools. The learning process is akin to a sport. You need to play the game and not just read about it to be completely evolved. Perhaps, we need to adopt a lab approach which will help students learn faster.K. CHIDANAND KUMAR, BangaloreadvertisementThere is a craze to admit children in good schools but in reality, do we know the definition of one? The best products come out of unknown schools. Just compare the results of civil services in the last decade and you’ll know that motivation doesn’t come from the tag of the school.MAN MOHAN BHATIA, DelhiPrisoners of FateIt is really outrageous that defying all international norms and protocols, Pakistan has not returned the Indian prisoners of the 1971 war, even after India released more than 93,000 Pakistani soldiers. (“Missing in Inaction”, November 27). India should take up the issue with the Pakistani Government and seek a solution for the release of the hapless POWs languishing in their jails.V.K.TANGRI. DehradunIt is disheartening to see that a story about our prisoners of war gets just two pages in a magazine like yours. The media seems to be blissfully unaware of the plight of the POWs and their families. The job of the media is to highlight the grievances of the masses. On this issue, however, it seems to have failed.BHAVYA BHATNAGAR, DelhiHu’s FriendsIt is only prudent on India’s part to improve relations with China in the face of increasing hostilities from Pakistan and Bangladesh (“Return of the Dragon”, November 27). We certainly cannot afford more enemies in the neighbourhood. Even on economic front, improved co-operation with China is imperative. As they say, if you cannot beat them, join them.SANJEET KHAJURIA, LucknowMoney and the MomsIt is incorrect to say that children of working women get a better deal than single income homes (“The Mummy Factor”, November 27). True, urban households with working women have higher annual incomes, but that’s not the only criterion to ensure better quality of life as the spending capacity of a family does not determine a child’s upbringing.VIJAYA BHARATI, RourkelaNo Child’s PlayWe need a clearer definition of innocence (“Loss of Innocence”, November 27). Today, no parent is keen on having a shy or dumb kid. Every one dreams of a Sanchita or an Akansha in their child and there is no problem in that. Children should be well trained to take on the competition around them.LATA RAGHAVAN, DelhiRoyal MistakeWhile elaborating the politics of royalty, you have mentioned that “Shrimant” means “your highness” (“A Battle Royale”, November 27). This is totally misleading as in the Hindi dictionary, the meaning of this word is wealthy and revered. When it is prefixed to a name, the more appropriate meaning would be revered.M.A. GHATGE, on e-mailDigital DivideOur technology is breeding a sense of deprivation among those tender minds whose parents cannot afford the gizmos that they see their friends hooked on to (“Wired Generation”, November 20). Such youngsters have a tendency to feel left out and inadequate during their school years. Such feelings can later develop into serious complexes, affecting their overall performances.SANDEEP SHETE, PuneadvertisementClean Up CricketIndian cricket has come of age; it has aged. So have our cricketers (“Perform or Pay Up”, November 20). Cricket now is not about performance but about endorsements and politics. Cricketers should be judged on their performances. There is no use dragging in coaches into the mess when the team is unable to perform.PRITAM SETH, on e-mailIt’s certainly the best time to institute a “pay for performance” system for our cricket team, which is under scrutiny for quite some time for its poor performance. If a fine is levied on them, our cricketers will be forced to perform on field. After all, they too should justify their salaries.JAYASHANKAR JAYARAMAN, BangaloreLabouring Over Child LawsIt shouldn’t surprise anyone that the Government has announced a ban on child labour without putting in place a mechanism to ensure a good future for them. After all, rehabilitation as a term has always been anathema to Indian governance.ALEX PAPERWALA, on e-mailThe coordination among ministries may be lacking as far as proper implementation of a ban on child labour is concerned, but at least the Government seems to have woken up to the problem. One should give Manmohan Singh some time to remove the speed breakers.KAILASH PATHAK, Patna
W. New York120.3138.197.8184.108.40.2069%65%37% RATINGAVG. SIM. SEASONPLAYOFF CHANCES Seattle109.9101.6220.127.116.11.81785 Orlando90.882.118.104.22.168.82773 Washington115.0123.5104.322.214.171.1245829 Boston63.175.647.51.915.82.4<1<1<1 Houston93.683.6126.96.36.199.2521 Chicago99.689.3188.8.131.52.846167 Portland106.9110.9102.09.73.96.5863515 Although our preseason forecast didn’t think it was impossible for both Seattle and Kansas City to miss the playoffs (it assigned roughly a 6 percent chance to that possibility), their drastic decline may indicate that we should re-evaluate some components of the model for next year’s NWSL season. As in many of our sports forecasts, each NWSL team’s rating is reverted toward the league average between seasons to account for factors such as changes in personnel and retirements. For the NWSL, two-thirds of a team’s rating from the previous season carries over into the new season; that amount is based on the first three seasons and is in line with other soccer leagues around the world (both men’s and women’s). This year’s results, however, may indicate that NWSL teams should be reverted further toward the league average each season. Or maybe this is just a crazy season. Only time (and more data) will tell. If at the start of the National Women’s Soccer League season you thought two-time defending champions FC Kansas City would be in third-to-last place just over halfway through the season or that two-time regular-season champions Seattle Reign FC would have almost as many losses as they did in their previous two seasons combined, you’re either psychic or your predictive abilities are far greater than ours.Before this year’s matches got underway, we built a model to forecast the league using the best information we had available: data from the three previous NWSL seasons. But because two of those years were dominated by Seattle and Kansas City, correctly predicting this year’s chaos in the league would have been very difficult. So with the table in tumult and the end of the regular season not far off, we thought this would be good time to update our initial predictions, see what’s changed and look ahead to which four teams are most likely to reach the playoffs this fall. Below is a table showing each team’s overall rating — made up of offensive and defensive components (higher is better for both) — as well as its projected win-loss-tie record and its chances of making the playoffs. Sky Blue97.299.4184.108.40.206.82073 Kansas City103.696.1113.26.08.35.7521 TEAMOVERALLOFF.DEF.WLTPLAYOFFSFINALSWIN This year’s surprise standout, the Western New York Flash, has skyrocketed to the top of our table and now has the greatest chance of winning the NWSL championship — 37 percent — up from just a 5 percent chance before the season started. With the league’s top two goal scorers, Lynn Williams and Jessica McDonald (seven and six goals, respectively), the Flash are almost certain to earn a playoff spot. The Washington Spirit will likely grab another — our model gives them a 96 percent chance of making the playoffs.There’s a little less certainty for the third and fourth playoff spots. The Portland Thorns are currently in first place in the league, with 26 points, and have an 86 percent chance of making the postseason. But the team has lost their past two games, in part because several national team players have been absent as they prepare for the Olympics. So Portland may continue to fall in our rankings over the next month. The Chicago Red Stars’ chances of making the playoffs have remained about the same from our initial forecast — dropping to 46 percent from 47 percent — but a strong start to the season has given way to three losses in the past four games.The biggest shock this season, however, has undoubtedly been the rapid descent of the league’s top two teams, Seattle and Kansas City. Both teams were heavily favored in our initial predictions — with a 78 percent and 72 percent chance of making the playoffs, respectively — but at this point, it’s extremely unlikely that either team will earn a playoff berth. There are still six weeks of matches left, but both teams’ chances of winning the championship have plummeted more than 20 percentage points since the season started.
Senior forward Wayne Chism paced the Volunteers with 22 points and 11 rebounds, unleashing his relentless motor after disposing of his oddly positioned headband at halftime.“All of our bigs, Brian Williams, Kenny Hall, Wayne Chism, it was electric tonight,” Tennessee guard Scotty Hopson said. “Their success down low was huge for us. We all made a conscious effort to rebound and it all worked out.”Ohio State’s defense didn’t play poorly the entire night, though. The Buckeyes jumped out to an 11-4 lead thanks to seven quick points by sophomore William Buford and several turnovers forced by the OSU defense.Tennessee fought back and the teams traded buckets until OSU entered the locker room at halftime clinging to a 42-39 lead.The Buckeyes extended the lead to six with 15:39 to play, but a porous defense and stagnant offense plagued them down the stretch. Turner scored Ohio State’s first 14 points after halftime, as his teammates struggled to find a rhythm.“[The Volunteers] do a great job on the half-court defense,” Matta said. “A lot of times it looks like something’s easy, but it really isn’t. … We just didn’t make shots in the second half.”Turner finished his junior season with typical stat sheet-stuffing totals of 31 points, seven rebounds and five assists. For the national Player of the Year favorite, despite its abrupt ending, the season won’t be one he looks at with disappointment.“I had the most fun I’ve ever had playing basketball,” he said. “I think we grew as a team. We genuinely care for each other and have a lot of fun. To overcome the situations we had, proved a lot of people wrong and just believing in each other was one of the best times in my life.“Right now, it’s tough to go through, but I feel like we did a lot of great stuff and we had a great season.” Evan Turner sat at midcourt, mesmerized. Several teammates ventured over to the junior, offering to help him to his feet, but Turner refused assistance, opting to bypass postgame handshakes and head directly for the locker room.The reality of a hard-fought, season-ending loss didn’t take long to sink in for the Big Ten Player of the Year, competing in scarlet and gray for perhaps the final time.Tennessee, the No. 6 seed in the Midwest region, used a late surge in the closing minutes to knock off No. 2 Ohio State, 76-73, before a Rockytop-giddy crowd Friday at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis.The Volunteers advance to the Elite Eight, where they will face Michigan State on Sunday.“We just didn’t get the job done,” junior center Dallas Lauderdale said. “We didn’t get the rebounds. They were going to get the ball. They were attacking us down low.”The meeting was the fourth in the last three years between the Buckeyes and Volunteers, and all four have been decided by five points or fewer.This time, Tennessee clenched a three-point lead as the Buckeyes gained possession with 12 seconds left. Turner had two looks at the basket, but both shots – and the team as a whole – fell short.“You want the ball in the hands of your best player,” said junior Jon Diebler, who made just one of his eight shot attempts. “[Turner] is the best player in the country. We will live with having the ball in the best player’s hands with 12 seconds left.”Despite the lack of a whistle, Turner felt there was contact on his desperation heaves.“I definitely liked the look I got,” he said. “I thought it was going to be like an and-one shot. I thought I was going to get a call.”The Buckeyes certainly had their share of chances, well before their inability to convert at the game’s conclusion. After converting 56 percent of its first half field goals, OSU made just 32 percent of its second half shot attempts.The most evident determining factor, however, was the difference in post production between the teams. Tennessee out-rebounded Ohio State by a 41-29 margin, while outscoring the Buckeyes in the paint by a 50-22 advantage.“They just got in the paint too easily,” Diebler said. “And when we collapsed, they did a good job of passing. With their height and athleticism, they’re able to see the floor a lot easier.”Buckeye forward David Lighty battled foul trouble throughout much of the game, forcing coach Thad Matta to dig a bit deeper than normal into his seldom-used bench. The OSU defense suffered, as the Buckeyes were overmatched on the boards.“You can’t worry about fouls, especially at this time of the year,” Lighty said. “You just have to keep playing hard and have backside help. But our defense just wasn’t what it used to be today.”
The Ohio State men’s basketball team has not always excelled in the late stages of games this season, sometimes struggling to score for extended periods of time. Such was the case again Tuesday night at the Schottenstein Center, as the No. 14-ranked Buckeyes avoided a complete collapse to squeak by unranked Iowa, 72-63. OSU spent the first three quarters of the contest dominating the Hawkeyes in nearly every facet of the game. The Buckeyes’ lead swelled to 24 midway through the second half, and a rout seemed imminent. But the Hawkeyes implemented a full-court press in the second half, using pressure to force a myriad of OSU mistakes. In all, the Iowa harassed OSU into 17 turnovers, a game-high six coming from junior point guard Aaron Craft. “They changed some things up, got in a press and just kind of sped us up a little bit,” Craft said. “We just started not executing our offense. We weren’t thinking as well as we should have been, it wasn’t until the end that we tried to figure it out.” As the Buckeyes gave away the ball, they slowly gave away their big lead. With 1:29 to play, the Hawkeyes had cut the OSU lead to four. The Buckeyes, though, regrouped and finished with a 9-4 run to close out the win in less than spectacular fashion. “A win is a win in conference play,” Craft said. “In this league you’ve got to protect home court. We didn’t do it the prettiest way, we didn’t finish the way we probably wanted to, but we got the win.” OSU coach Thad Matta agreed, though he acknowledged the Buckeyes will have to learn from their mistakes. “I do think in the league we’re in right now, you take your wins and semi-celebrate them,” Matta said. “By the same token, you’ve got to look at things and say ‘How do we get better?’” Craft struggled with ball security, but he forced four turnovers as well. His first swipe of the night put him in OSU’s record book as the school’s all-time leader in steals with 205. “It’s a great honor, a great accomplishment,” Craft said. “We have a lot more important things to worry about than individual awards.” Aside from turnovers, the Buckeyes’ biggest problem likely came on the glass, where they were outrebounded, 40-34, gave up 22 offensive rebounds and didn’t receive any production from their starting big man. Sophomore Amir Williams blocked six shots but didn’t pull down a single board. It was a fairly bizarre performance from the 6-foot-11 center, and one that he was disappointed in. “Me having zero rebounds, that’s just unacceptable on my behalf,” Williams said. “I feel like I was going after too many blocks and I kind of put myself out of position a little bit to rebound the basketball. It’s something I’ve got to continue to work on.” Junior forward Deshaun Thomas, the Big Ten’s leading scorer, scored a game-high 16 points despite taking an elbow to the face in the second half. Thomas briefly left the game, and returned with a bandage above his right eye. Craft and junior guard Lenzelle Smith Jr. also chipped in 12 points and senior forward Evan Ravenel added 11. With the win, OSU improves to 14-4 on the season and 4-2 in Big Ten play. Iowa falls to 13-6 on the year and 2-4 in the conference. The Buckeyes return to action on Jan. 26 against Penn State in State College, Pa. “Our guys are exhausted,” Matta said. “I probably pushed them a little bit harder than I’ve ever pushed a team, dating back to a couple weeks ago. We need rest physically and mentally to come back on Thursday (for practice) and get ready for Penn State.”
Former Leicester City and England striker Gary Lineker has addressed the horror accident involving Leicester City owner, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha’s helicopter.The helicopter was leaving the stadium after Leicester’s Premier League clash against West Ham on Saturday evening but for some reason, the helicopter crashed as soon as it took off.The Foxes were held to a one-all draw at the King Power Stadium by visitors, West Ham United.Manuel Pellegrini’s men took the lead in the first half through defender Fabian Balbuena in the 30th minute but were also reduced to ten men, after captain Mark Noble was sent off in the 38th minute for a rash challenge.Nigeria international midfielder Wilfred Ndidi salvaged a point for Leicester in the 89th minute of the game when his long-range strike was deflected past Lukasz Fabianski in the West Ham goal.Liverpool legend Nicol slams Harry Maguire’s Man United form Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Steve Nicol believes Harry Maguire has made some “horrendous mistakes” recently, and has failed to find his best form since joining Manchester United.Lineker addressed the helicopter crash that has engulfed his favoured team Leicester City, during BBC’s Match of the Day program.He said: “Then, after Leicester played West Ham this evening, the helicopter owned by the Leicester chairman took off from the pitch at the King Power Stadium and a few seconds later crashed outside the ground.”“Clearly, this is a breaking story and we’ll do our best to keep you updated throughout the programme.”“First, this is what happened during the game.”